Foundation for Assistive Technology (FAST)

The Foundation for Assistive Technology (FAST) is a small dynamic charity that works strategically to provide information, consultancy and thought leadership for the assistive technology (AT) sector in the UK. FAST defines AT as any product or service designed to maximise independence.

FAST has close links with older and disabled people, and the organisations that support and represent them in the UK. FAST’s role within the I2Web project will focus on ensuring that the views, interests and needs of these groups are represented in the project and incorporated into the project activities and outcomes.  FAST will recruit older and disabled volunteers to test web 2.0 applications, and will also work with web commissioners and developers.

Profile

FAST was established in 1997 to help develop a thriving market for equipment and services that meet the real needs of disabled and older people. FAST connects people across the market and brings together partners to share learning and develop new services. It is a central force in the sector in the UK, shaping a vision for high quality services and innovative and appealing products. FAST’s key activities are information provision, partnership brokering, project management, market analysis, standards development and project monitoring.

FAST works with a range of high-profile partners across the UK including academics, commercial companies (such as BT, Microsoft and Cisco), government departments and third sector organisations (such as the Disabled Living Foundation and Ricability).

FAST’s current work programme includes:

  • Promoting a freely available, fully searchable, comprehensive database of research and development activity in the UK and two free monthly newsletters covering the latest developments in the AT sector.
  • Drafting a publicly available annual report to Parliament on UK R&D in AT, commissioned by the UK Department of Health.
  • Promoting the participation of older and disabled people in the development of new AT products and services.
  • Developing training and confidence building courses to support people to confidently choose and use AT.
  • Acting as a research and development partner representing end users on a range of national level projects.